Dear arrested demonstrators in Seattle, Olympia and Portland,
We are saddened and enraged by what you were subjected to last Friday during the anti-police brutality demonstrations. The viciousness the police demonstrated in their physical beatings and arrests was unacceptable. We write to express our support and solidarity with you as you heal your physical wounds and prepare to face the ridiculous legal charges being thrown at you.
Members of our organization have, like you, faced the terrors of militarized repression; ours coming in the form of three unwarranted, racist arrests; as well as direct intimidation from the FBI. We share your anger and we stand with you.
This latest incident, in conjunction with the recent murders the police have committed in Portland, reminds us of what we already knew: the terror the police regularly attempt to instill in the hearts of everyday people. We know what we, as queers, trans folks, people of color, women, workers, poor folks, and activists, have endured at the hands of those that “serve and protect.”
We know that as queers, we may be targeted, harassed, assaulted, and murdered by the cops because our sexuality and gender expression threatens the very social order, which they will kill to uphold. We know that as women, the police are on the front lines of maintaining and enforcing a patriarchal society that denies us freedom of movement; denies us freedom of choice; and denies us the right to defend ourselves.
We know the white supremacist nature of the police force. We know the institutionalized practice of racial profiling. We are still seething knowing that Seattle cops ruthlessly beat 15-year-old Malika Calhoun, a young Black woman, claiming to justify their actions by saying she was “real lippy.” We are still seething knowing that there still has not been justice for Oscar Grant, a Black man killed by racist cops in Oakland. We know that, as people of color, every time we see a cop car, there may be 50 shots waiting to send us to our grave.
We know the cops are part of the same system as the U.S. military, the border patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It is a system of militarized, violent domination, and as immigrants, we know that all wings of this militarized society are mounted against us; ripping us from our friends and families; subjecting us to rape at the border; indefinite detentions; and inhuman deportations.
We know the history of the police working on the side of exploitative bosses to violently break workers’ strikes. To know what action the university and police will take in the event of mass student mobilization, we need only remember the images of students murdered by police at Kent State University and Jackson State University in 1970.
As the movement uniting students and workers against budget cuts and privatization has broken out in California and spread across the country this year, we have seen how ruthlessly the elites employ brutal force. Indeed, as activists in California noted after the police beatings of demonstrators at UC Berkeley in November, “behind every fee increase is a line of riot cops.” Well, we now know that behind every murder that the police commit are the clubs, tasers, handcuffs, and shotguns of the rest of the nation’s police officers. We know that as activists, the police will try to use whatever means that they have to break our arms, faces, legs, necks, hearts and minds.
We know all of these brutalities to which we are subjected are purposefully meant to strike deep fear in our collective consciousness; the type of fear that freezes us in our tracks along the path to liberation. As we condemn the violence and coercion of the cops, we refuse to remain frozen, and we vow to link arms with you and anyone else who is willing to face down our enemies in blue.
We apologize for not responding sooner. Please call on us for whatever support you need.
Stay strong! Someday we will prevail!